Monday, May 13, 2013

The Charm Of Pondicherry

Even since being swept away with imagery when reading Life Of Pi, I have wanted to visit Pondicherry in India, where the story begins, and the inspiration for the zoo was found. The test match being scheduled for Chennai meant that a roadtrip was possible on our last day in the area, and after finding Mamallapuram and Auroville on the way down, Julie and I made it to the oceanside French Colonial town.

After a much needed lunch facing out over the sea at Le Cafe - and the treat of a Western French inspired meal as a break from Indian food - we checked out the Ghandi Statue, before having our driver take us to the Botanical Gardens.

Here is where Yann Martel's story started. This overgrown garden is meant to be where the idea of the zoo came from...and I almost expected Richard Parker to slink out of some of the jungle areas!

You can even see the little railway tracks that were mentioned in the book.

We then plotted out a wander through the French Quarter of Pondicherry, to take in the pretty buildings. The quaint sights of women in saris against the colourful background of the buildings, and the cobbled streets.

Some rundown buildings, some beautifully restored.

We started on the edge of Bharathi Park and walked past the Pondicherry Museum. North of Nehru Street we interacted with a group of women who were all coming out of the ashram, before we came back towards Government Square, and then down and Romain Rollard and Suffren Streets for more gorgeous building viewing.

As part of our discovery of this little town on foot, we happened upon the Sri Manakulu Vinayagar Hindu temple with an elephant out the front. For some rupees, the elephant dedicated to Ganesh would pat the head of the giver, which had us entertained for some time.

We were both so buoyed by our trip down to see Pondicherry, and this was one of my favourite days in India.

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